Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our favourite books - a Pinterest board by Surrey Libraries


Surrey Libraries have a lovely Pinterest account. It includes a board called "our favourite books".  The description of it is " A selection of favourite books chosen by library staff and our followers on Twitter.  #favebook".  Each pin has the author/title and who selected it.  This is such a lovely idea.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Are the knitters in your library treated like makers?

I have been thinking about how libraries are implementing maker spaces, and there are many exciting ones.  This has started me thinking about what makers are already in libraries. Michelle Cooper, Amy Koester and Justin Hoenke have done and excellent presentation showing opportunities for library services for younger people in the maker environment.  This builds on the great work which had done in libraries working on craft and maker ideas.  This is one group of makers already being (at least partly) catered for in many libraries. 

Knitting and crochet groups are active in many libraries.  Some libraries include knitting and crochet as maker programs, as this presentation by Heather Braum, Dan Alexander and Erin Downey shows. Hailey Public Library has promotions, (also on their website) which make knitting and and crochet available in their library as maker activities.

As Cory Doctorow says "Makerspaces do a very good job of being welcoming to people who are of a technical bent. But they have yet to figure out a way of sorting out how to appeal to nontraditional audiences. I think that [librarians should be] actively pursuing ways to help people who are from nontraditional audiences in your hackerspaces, find the thing that they need to do and show them how to do it".  This description fits with how the Hailey Public Library is providing this service.

Knitting and crochet require a technical bent - the technology looks different that is all.  The Victoria and Albert Museum have fibre work included in their Power of Making.

The work which has been done on the coral reef  "created and curated by Christine Wertheim and Margaret Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring" is a great maker example.  You can crochet your own coal reef.  Crochet is a really effective way of demonstrating parabolic planes (see this article by David W Henderson and  Daina Taimina).  This is very serious maths which is going on here.  The Institute for Figuring has many more examples you can explore, and this BBC post is also helpful showing how these formats are great for illustrating mathematical ideas.

Quilting is another great maker opportunity.

What this post is really about is slightly changing how some of these groups are treated in the library.  They all use technology.  Knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn are all technology - and with a low cost entry point.  Different people in the community and library will have the skills to be able to train people in these.  They all have amazing creative outcomes (or can be used for important creative production like the Wrap with love project).  There is graffiti knitting, and exciting collaborations.  The skills to knit a square can lead to lots of possibilities.  Knitting a square, or many squares which are needed for the wrap with love blankets, are still exciting possibilities.  Knitting does not need reinvention, there have been amazing things knitted through the ages 

There are exciting possibilities for connecting with local groups like lace makers and  people who make fly fishing lures.  See who you have in your area.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Where do you obtain your reading suggestions from?

I was thinking about this recently, because of the work I do with readers advisory people.  I decided to think about where my reading suggestions come from, to see what is in the mix.

The following list, not in any order, shows some of the places ideas for reading come from for me:
  • public library - staff at my local library will sometimes (proactively) suggest something to read or watch based on my borrowing.  I like this.  It is active without being obtrusive, and is a nice way of demonstrating skills, so that if I want to ask I can.  It also lets people know that you can ask library staff of reading suggestions
  • friends - although most of my friends read very differently to me, this is still an area where ideas come from
  • specific blogs/tumblr I follow. Some of these will be written by authors, and some not. 
  • people I follow on goodreads. There are some people I follow on Goodreads that I will probably not read anything they do, but it is still interesting seeing their reading. There are a few people I follow where I have found that if they give a book a high star rating/excellent review I am really likely to enjoy it. I have tried some titles I would not have thought of this way.
  • twitter - this is different people I follow talking about what they have read, and some time authors tweeting links to free or low cost ebooks as a way of discovering content. I have had some lovely reads this way, as well as a few which I did not finish. I always receive ideas for new reading from the Read watch play twitter reading group as well. Have a look for #rwpchat.  Also have a looks at the different social media channels being used for this discussion - links available from here.
  • Television - I don't watch a lot of television, but it can lead to reading for example I am reading a work by Brian Cox after watching Wonders of life. I am reading a history of the Vikings by Neil Oliver because I have watched some of his documentaries. 
I was thinking about this as I think these are tools to let library clients know about as well, as some may not be aware of how many ways to find out about reading suggestions, but also, some readers may be able to train library staff in some genre specific ways (so learning from the clients).

Does your library use a rang of online tools as part of the readers advisory service? Novelist can be very helpful, and has increasing Australian content, as well as connection with Goodreads.

There are a few libraries on Goodreads, like OCLS and Scottsdale. This could be an option to consider for your community. You may want to introduce it with providing sessions about it to your reading groups, as well as other groups of readers in your library. With anything you are doing online make sure you have day to find links on your website. Don't assume people will see the home page, include links on all pages, including the catalogue. Make sure you tell people about it in the library, and through the community as well. It might draw people into use these services, but you have to tell them about it in spaces they are already in.

Think about how you obtain reading suggestions. Are there ways to inform the readers in you community about some of them.  Are there genre specific options you could connect clients with? Don't forget you can learn from your clients as well. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The cube at QUT

I have visited The cube at QUT three times last year.  The first visit was for work, the other two visits have been in my own time because I was so impressed (and these photographs are from one of the visits in my own time).


I like the way it is interactive.  I like the way they change the data and the display.  I like the way it gives a different way of thinking about and exploring information, a different way to do research - which may lead to some really exciting outcomes.  I like that it is big, and yes I know big is not necessarily better, but it works really well for this space because it is a public lecture and learning space, not a private discovery space.  I like that it is very public, encouraging collaboration and interaction with other people using the space,  I like that exploring the different data sets is fun, for discovering ideas and information.  You explore to see where the information will take you, even comparative building data and physics.  They have been making great use of local data - of the kind which is of interest for local studies.

You can see the rest of the set here.

#sydfest makes it really easy to connect online

I really like the way that Sydney Festival makes it easy to know how to connect with it online. Variations of this sign seem to be at the different venues, so you know what social media channels they are using.

It is clear, catchy and impressive.